gert emmens & ruud heij - signs



releasedate: 2014, April 16


1. First Light
2. Signs
3. From Beyond
4. Deceptive Silence
5. Void

for ordering Signs please visit the SHOP page
also available atmost of the EM-distributors (see links page)

Videoclip of the titletrack (Signs) on YouTube.

Basic tracks were recorded at Infinite Echoes studio, Utrecht, Netherlands, during several recording sessions in 2013.

Overdubs recorded by Gert at Studio Gert Emmens, Arnhem, Netherlands.

Mixed, mastered and produced by Gert Emmens.

Front cover photo, inlay photo and label photo by Hilko Hof. Left b/w photo by Gert Emmens, right b/w photo by Heike Mäder. Coverdesign by Gert Emmens.

Special thanks to: Hilko Hof, Ron Boots, Laila Quraishi and Heike Mäder

Gert Emmens: keys, electronics, guitar, radio.
Ruud Heij: keys, electronics.



The music on this album is inspired by those large radio telescopes, that patiently search the universe for signs. Signs that could mean something. Signs that might contain a message, coming from an intelligent lifeform, far away, maybe sent ages ago.



Bert Strolenberg (Sonic Immersion)

**** (out of 5)

I think it is always great and exciting to see people step out of the ordinary and do something different. The latter applies to"Signs" (a concept album inspired by large radio telescopes) by the Dutch duo Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij, who decided to do a full ambient release despite the risk it not being accepted/liked by their regular fan base. 

Well, their confidence is very reassuring and has paid off as there’s some soft glowing, overtly mysterious morphing textural electronic music with occasional e-guitar licks on this release, most emotive and seductive as it unfolds and curls wave after wave.

Both composers have put their heart and soul into the core of cinematic sounds making up their seventh collaborative effort, revealing lots of detail and many mesmerizing undercurrents in each of the five meticulously crafted compositions as the 70-minute ambient journey evolves gently and full of elegance without becoming soft or predictable. I for one feel the deeper, even more adventurous levels along the feeling of being "out there" are explored even more intense on the second half of the album, starting with "From Beyond". Take a dive into the intriguing sound world of"Signs" if you like to trigger your imagination or want your mind to experience a pleasant night out in higher spheres. A very nice one, guys!


Chuck van Zyl (Star's End) - May 22 2014

Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij seek a simplicity of expression. On their collaboration Signs (73'25") they have temporarily abandoned their most excellent sequencer music in order to expand their reach into the abstract world of aural exploration. They know that abstraction can be easier on the eye than it is on the ear. Yet utilizing a well-honed sense of sonic innovation Emmens & Heij manage to realize an engaging, even astonishing, unending miscellany of sound - all this in a music so surreal that it resists commodification. Texturally rich Signs engulfs the listening area as it carves out an even greater space within the listener's mind. Their calibrated barrage of electronics is imbued with a poetic introspection. Sounds unfurl as the arriving slow moving whooshes, building metallic drones and glowing gusts of harmony are soon swallowed up by burbles and crackles of synthetic tones - then sonic currents shift, flood and recede to leave us floating in a softly reverberating soundscape. Without the presence of a rhythmic element chronological awareness is lost. The sporadic placement of guitar or piano chords does offer an identifiable access point, but the other zones and areas that this work opens up are completely imaginary - their meaning known to their creator alone. Emmens & Heij never settle for repetition when they can offer permutations and then move on. They create an atmosphere looming with serious portent within a musical form known for its provocations. Mechanical talents on full display this duo plays with a new depth and amplitude. Not playing toward a destination; they play for the journey. But perhaps the greatest single reason for listening to this CD is for us to receive in the span of 70 minutes a complete message. With a meaning beyond words, this kind of album is the most basic form of poetry.


Sylvain Lupari - Synth & Secquences - May 13th 2014

“Signs is a soundtrack of lunar moods flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness”

A mini concerto of very discreet carillons spreads the resonances of bells into synth lines among which the lazy twists are floating such as some suspended metallic singings by dark chorus. Notes of piano come to ring more hardly than the bells, weaving a somber melody dislocated in a dense thick cloud of synth breezes and singings. "First Light" raises proudly its naming with a day invasion on night ashes. There are 10 minutes past to the meter and always "First Light" floats as a threat with translucent lines which avoid all harmony with the notes of a piano always mislaid in an opaque sibylline canvas. But where are the sequences? The percussions? We hear here and there small drumming, more of trampling, but "First Light" remains ambient. Very ambient. Just like the whole of “Signs”. This last album of the duet  Emmens/Heij is an intrusion in the world of dark and ominous ambient music. Both accomplices abandon sequences and percussions to concentrate on the art to modulate abstract sonic landscapes flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness. The Dutch duet doesn't do things by halves. “Signs” is an immersive album where the listener is plunged in full lunar darkness in search of the slightest thread of rhythm. But there is no rhythm here. Only atmospheres. But twisted atmospheres and of a rare sinister wealth where is linked a multitude of anfractuous lines and where the discomfort roams in every plot of luminosity.

Fine starred particles sparkle in the very cosmic breaths of the title-track. Breaths, or slow dying digression, which cover themselves of a hoarse tone of didgeridoo float like the shadows of space shuttles which left tracks ghosts. We are literally in the heart of a cosmic darkness with some black breaths which suck up our subconscious and the only sign of life is blown by very pensive harmonies scattered here and there by the vestiges of piano or guitar. Here, and in the little more musical "Void", it's a guitar and its solitary riffs which drag a melancholy in an astral space while "From Beyond", just like "First Light", scatters 4 minimalist notes of a very meditative piano which loses its tears in forgetting. The first part offers a sonic landscape of the most disturbing with slow synth waves which disturb the delicate harmonies of a piano mislaid in these so many breaths, breezes and voices as soporific than gloomy. The approach is as much dark and disturbing as in "First Light", even if both tracks are enormously alike.

"Deceptive Silence" is a very dark, at some times uncomfortable, music piece with these strange pulsations which beat under a thick cloud of streaks to the aromas of howling metal. The introduction is very psychotronic with tones which forge an unreal life while that quietly the track loses its weak life line in a storm of lugubrious breezes which roar like winds eating empty holes. This long title plunges the listener into a sonic black hole where all the abstract forms take life to come undone as other tones, always very abstract, shape the imperceptible. There are more ethereal passages where the calm exposes a relative tranquillity with synth waves which waltz and sing like some kind of cosmic whales, but always "Deceptive Silence" is eaten away from the inside by a rich sonic fauna with deep lunarscapes eroded by infertility. An adornment taken back by "Void" and its 4 notes of guitar as meditative as the piano of "From Beyond". Adornment as much fascinating as disturbing and which makes quite all the charms of “Signs”; a soundtrack of lunar moods.

Uwe Sasse

Hmm, eine CD mit Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij ohne Sequenzer .... geht das ? Klar, geht ..... und wie :-)
Etwas ungewohnte Klänge von Gert und Ruud. Nicht weil sie die Musik ohne Sequenzer eingespielt haben, nein .... alles Ambient ! Und dieser Ambient-Stil gefällt mir ausgesprochen gut!
Inspiriert durch die riesigen Radioteleskope, die Zeichen durchs das Universum senden, auffangen und eventuel intelligente Lebensformen erreichen könnten? Dieses Thema, welches wohl für immer unerschlossen bleibt, haben die beiden klasse umgesetzt und daraus eine ergreifende und athmosphärische Stimmung erschaffen.
Es sind Klänge, die aus der Ruhe entstehen und Fantasien in uns auslösen. Gibt es (weitere) intelligente Lebensformen, werden wir sogar beobachtet? Wenn ja, kommt es sogar zu einer Kontaktaufnahme ? Spätestens, wenn "sie" diese Musik hören, würde ich sagen : Ja !! :-)
Wirklich sehr spannend aufgebaut und gespielt. Das sind Ambientklänge, wie ich sie liebe und daher sehr gerne weiterempfehlen möchte :-))